The Student Union of Helsinki Univerity (HYY) has informed students about the elections for its Representative Council on 6.-7.11 e.g. in Ylioppilaslehti and Studentbladet, by e-mail and on its webpages. Information has been given in Finnish and in Swedish.
However, there are over 1 500 English speaking degree students at the university and they have the right to vote. How does HYY guarantee that the international students receive the information about the elections, Mikko Heinonen, member of HYY Board and in charge of communications?
Most of the material has in deed been made in Finnish and in Swedish, which are the official languages of HYY. We have informed the English speaking students by sending mail to the international mailing lists in HYY. There is also some information in English on our webpages. Now that the issue has been brought up, we will also print out some English information in Ylioppilaslehti.
Are the English speaking students in an equal position if compared to Finnish and Swedish speaking students?
Information in English is clearly not of a same quality as the Finnish is. Informing about the elections is a big task for HYY and it demands a lot of work. That is why we have not had enough resources to concentrate on this.
In fact HYY is going through a period of radical changes with its communications. HYY just updated its strategy in which it is now stated clearly that we must put more emphasis on informing the English speaking students in the future. Also the HYY communications strategy will be renewed before the end of the year, and the international section is already preparing the grouds for English information.
How will English information change in practice?
We have asked the English speaking students what kind of information they need and in which form. Using this information, we can then come up with a well advised way of organizing the communications.
We have discussed e.g.about a model in which in all HYY information there would allways be at least a title in English and in addition some directions about additional information which could be found in the web.